Coming to clinic to see a doctor can often be a frightening thing for a child or young person. Depending on their age they may have some understanding of what a visit might entail, for others they may have no idea at all what to expect. Talking to them before the visit or looking at some books can often help put them at ease. Here is what you can expect from your visit.
Coming to see your ENT specialist will hopefully be a worthwhile and pleasant experience. The waiting area will almost always have a selection of toys and books available for young visitors to enjoy. Clinics can be busy at times. Your doctor is here to help you along with many other patients. Sometimes waiting times can be longer than you would like, please be patient, everyone will be seen.
Any tests required may be carried out prior to seeing your doctor, e.g. a hearing test.
In the Room
The nurses and doctors are there to help you and your child and will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have, please do not be afraid to ask.
During the Consultation
The quickest way to get help and work towards a diagnosis is to tell your doctor what the problem is as precisely as you can. Once you have given them the details of the initial problem they can then ask you and/or your child any further information they need to know. Writing down any questions can be useful as can any appropriate video recordings if your child has an airway / breathing issue. Your doctor will document the details you have provided in your child’s notes.
The doctor may need to examine your child to help confirm the diagnosis. Most children are fine having their ears, nose, throat, neck or airway looked at. Depending on the age the doctor will show your child what equipment is going to be used for the examination; they will also explain how it works. Most examinations are very quick and not particularly painful.
Some examinations require the doctor to use a small camera (Flexible Nasendoscope). This may be used if your child has a nasal concern or problems with the airway or throat (voice). The camera is a small, thin, flexible tube that goes into the nose (mouth in young babies). If your child is old enough they may be willing to sit very still by themselves for the short time that the doctor needs to carry out the examination. In the case of babies, the nurse can give head support whilst you are holding them. This examination is not usually painful but it will be an unusual sensation. Often babies cry during the examination; however they stop quickly after it’s completed.
Some conditions such as ear wax or ear infections might need to be examined more closely under a microscope. The microscope has a light source and helps the doctor to see the ear in much more detail. The size of the microscope can be quite daunting for a young patient. If it is needed the doctor will talk through exactly what they need to do before using it. On occasion some suction might be needed to remove wax and debris from the ear. This is like a mini hoover. It is very noisy whilst it is in use but should not be painful. Again this will be shown prior to use.
Diagnosis and Treatment
After acquiring all of the information during the consultation your doctor will talk through with you their findings. In some cases further information may be requested for example a scan or a more a detailed hearing test. Some patients require a surgical procedure or examination under anaesthetic. If any of these things are needed then you will be given a full explanation, including what will happen next. If you have any questions at any point during your consultation or you do not understand anything please feel free to ask. There is also lots of information available on this website.
Section written by
Nursery Nurse / Paediatric Health Care Assistant